As the scene opens we see Haman casting lots (or pur). He is superstitious and wants to find the most auspicious date for his scheme (Esther 3:7). With the date set, Haman approaches the king with his request.
Haman uses a mixture of truths, half-truths, and lies (Esther 3:8). It is true that there is a ″certain people″ (v. 8) dispersed among the peoples in the Persian Empire. It is only half true that ″their customs are different″ (v. 8) because even though they followed Old Testament laws, Esther must have broken at least some of it in order to live in the king’s palace. For instance, she married a foreigner, and she most likely ate defiled food (see Daniel 1). Finally, it is false that ″it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them″ (v. 8), because we’ve just seen that Mordecai saved the king’s life.
Then, to put the icing on the cake, Haman throws in a massive bribe of 10,000 talents (around 340 tons) of silver (Esther 3:9). This sum is estimated to be over half of the annual tax revenue of the whole Persian Empire. Maybe Haman thought he would seize this much from the Jews after he wiped them out. In this shrewd way, Haman hoodwinks King Xerxes into agreeing to annihilate God’s people. The deal is then sealed (Esther 3:10). The king hands over his signet ring (a symbol of his authority), along with the money and the Jews for Haman to ″do with the people as [he] please[s]″ (v. 11). As an avowed ″enemy of the Jews″ (v. 10), Haman receiving the king’s authority to do as he pleases surely spells tragedy for them.
Unfortunately, this hatred against God’s people is not just limited to the time of Esther. It has happened all through Israel’s history. Even today, there are people out to persecute and kill Christians. At times, our persecutors will use truths, half-truths, and flat-out lies to incite the authorities against us. Jesus describes the devil as ″a murderer from the beginning,″ who uses lies, since ″he is a liar and the father of lies″ (John 8:44). Slander was used against Jesus to kill Him. Slander was also used against Jesus’ followers in Acts 17:6-7.
So, sadly, Haman is not just a one-off. Haman-types have slandered and tried to kill God’s people throughout history. They continue to do so today. Yet Jesus assures us that he will be with us by his Spirit, even to the end of the age (John 14:15-17; Matthew 28:20).
How do we see lies being used against Christians today (see John 8:44)? How should we respond?
Read Revelation 2:8-11. The church in Smyrna faced slander and persecution. How have you experienced slander and persecution as a Christian? What encouragement can you draw from Jesus’ words?